Green Bay’s new GM has had a busy week with the startup of individual workouts at college pro days. NFL sources have spotted Brian Gutekunst at Florida State, North Carolina State, and Georgia pro days over the past few days. The former scout is still very much in tune with learning everything he can about prospects prior to April’s draft. These visits indicate the first-year GM is keeping his options open for the Packers first-round pick.
Before the 2018 NFL combine, Gutekunst spoke highly of the 2018 class.
“I think it’s a good class, it’s intriguing. I think it’s a strong secondary group, you know? (continued) There’s a lot of pieces that haven’t been answered yet, questions that haven’t been answered yet. We have 12 picks, and I think it’s a good class to get after those guys with 12 picks.”
The Packers used one of their formal interviews on Florida State’s safety Derwin James at the scouting combine. Green Bay just lost their versatile strong safety Morgan Burnett and hope that last year’s second-round pick Josh Jones will match his athleticism.
James was a versatile safety in college with experience as a slot corner who could blitz off the corner. He totaled 5.5 career sacks in three seasons at FSU.
James said the Packers discussed his versatility on the back end and whether he was comfortable playing in the slot. James would be a worthy selection with the 14th pick if the Packers are looking for another utility guy in the secondary and aren’t completely sold on Josh Jones.
North Carolina State’s draft class consists of one of the most intriguing prospects who would be perfect for Mike Pettine’s defense. And really any defense for that matter.
Some scouts believe defensive end Bradley Chubb is a generational talent which could have Gutekunst heavily sold on his upside. He projects to be long gone before the Packers first selection but that does open up the possibility for trading up. The Packers would likely have to move into the top-5 to have a shot at the ACC product.
On Wednesday, Gutekunst traveled south for Georgia’s pro day. Georgia has a loaded class of stars that includes multiple first-round candidates. Linebacker Roquan Smith, running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, as well as guard Isaiah Wynn are among Georgia’s top prospects.
The Packers are possibly keeping close tabs on Smith who would be a high-value pick at 14. He was awarded for being the nation’s top linebacker in 2017 for his play on a defense that made it all the way to the national championship.
Smith would help sure up the interior of the Packers defense and also bring an element of athleticism that has been missing. Smith ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine.
The Packers could go a number of ways in the draft and the 12 picks at their disposal certainly helps.
Gutekunst’s scouting voyages will have Packer nation buzzing up until April 26th.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.